Lentils are a type of legume that is packed with a variety of nutrients and has been consumed by humans in a number of different preparations for thousands of years. In a lot of different cuisines, including Indian and Mediterranean, lentils are a staple. But because there are so many different kinds of lentils, people from other parts of the world are frequently confused about how they taste.
This is because there are so many different sizes and shapes of lentils. In this article, we will do our best to discuss the various kinds of lentils as well as the flavors associated with each variety and hope that after reading this article, you will be motivated to add lentils to your dinner menu and will be inspired to do so.
What are lentils?
Also known as pulses, the lentil (Lens culinaris) is a lens-shaped edible legume. The lentil tree is an annual tree that produces bean-shaped seeds that are known as lentils. Lentils come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors including yellow, brown, black, red, etc.
Thought to be originated in the Middle East or central Asia, it is one of the earliest crops that were produced by our ancestors. Lentils are a huge part of Indian cuisine. People in the Indian subcontinent consume lentil curry or lentil soup (which is also known as dal) on a regular basis with steamed rice and roti.
In addition, lentils are incredibly versatile and can be prepared in the cuisine of many different nations in a wide variety of ways, including as a soup, a stew, a salad, fried food, and so on. In addition to this, they are packed with essential nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, and many more.
What do lentils taste like?
The taste of lentils large depends on the type of lentil, the cooking method, the seasonings used, and so on. To put a blanket statement, lentils taste kind of nutty, and earthy taste with a mild flavoring. Let us have a look at how different types of lentils taste.
To begin with, yellow lentils are one of the most common types of lentils. They are small and round in shape and yellow in color. Yellow lentils taste mildly nutty and a little sweet. They are very often used in Indian daal recipes. They turn very soft when cooked and pair well with rice. Buy your yellow lentils here!
The second type of lentil is the red lentil. They are slightly sweet, earthy, and nutty in taste. They need shorter amounts of cooking time unlike other types of lentils and do not need soaking beforehand, Like yellow lentils, they also turn very soft when cooked. You can make lentil soup, lentil curry, red lentil tortillas, etc.Again, red lentils are sometimes ground into a paste and mixed with onions, chili pepper, salt, and other Indian spices before being formed into little balls and deep-fried in vegetable oil. These are called "piyaju" and are common on iftar tables throughout southern Asia during Ramadan. Get these red lentils here.
Next comes the brown lentils which are similar in taste to that of green beans. These brown lentils consist of green highlight strips going through them. Unlike yellow and red lentils, brown lentils hold their shapes after being cooked which makes them perfect for different kinds of salads, soups, and burritos. You can get organic brown lentils here.
Furthermore, black lentils have richer and more intense earthier tones in their taste. They also hold their shape well. Therefore, you can cook them in big batches and pop them in the fridge to eat for the next couple of days. Consider buying organic black lentils from here.
How to cook lentils?
Lentils are easy and simple to cook. You can also create various kinds of dishes with lentils. However, if you want to taste the Indian style traditional spicy lentil curry, consider following the steps below:
As lentils are produced in the ground, the dried lentils that you find in your shops often have pieces of dirt or stones. In order to remove any trash or stones rinse the lentils in a colander. After that, combine the lentils and water in a medium-sized pot. Put the lentils and water on your stove-atop and bring it to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium. After the water is reduced in half, simmer the lentils until they are cooked for about 20 to 30 minutes.
In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for three to four minutes, or until the onion becomes brownish golden. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, and garam masala and stir until aromatic, about 1 to 2 minutes.
After that, add the cooked lentils to the pan and stir until everything is evenly distributed. season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue cooking until the flavors have merged.
If you want, you can garnish your lentil with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve it hot with rice or roti!
Are lentils healthy for you?
Yes, lentils are very healthy for you. Lentils are full of high-quality protein, low in fat, and rich in minerals and dietary fibers. 100 grams of boiled lentils contain 116 kcal, 9.02 grams of proteins, 0.38 grams of fat, and 7.9 grams of dietary fiber along with other important nutrients.
Lentils are high in plant-based proteins. They are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, vegans, and others who avoid eating meat. Lentils' protein content will help them meet their protein requirements by being incorporated into a variety of dishes such as curries, soups, stews, salads, and so on.
Lentils, once again, are high in dietary fibers, which promote digestive health and help lower cholesterol levels. Lentils are indeed very beneficial to one's health and ideal for daily consumption, in addition to containing important minerals such as potassium, iron, and zinc.
To summarise, lentils are edible legumes that have been around for a very long time. There are different types of lentils in terms of their shape, size, color, and texture. They all have a nutty and earthy flavor with mildly sweet undertones, though the texture varies. All of this is to say that lentils are simple, delicious, and versatile food options that are nutritious and great for your health as well.